• Enter search term(s):


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



Recent Posts

For the record, I experience lingerie every day: Incompetence at an agency receiving City funding to support youth who have been in the sex trade

Date: May 4, 2011

Last week, I attended Take Back the Night rally and march (though I didn’t actually march due to my disability) held at Portland State University. Many organizations were tabling at the rally, handing out candies, pens, and (most importantly) information and resources.

One of the handout materials I found looked like this.

You Need Not Be Alone

Here’s how it looked on the other side when I turned it over.

You Are... / You May Experience…

Four sides of this square were folded in like origami, which can be unfolded to reveal what’s inside. So I unfolded the side with “You Are…” and this is what was below it.

priceless STRONG worthy ABLE Intelligent Survivor STREET SMART RESOURCEFUL Resilient

The message is that “you” (the person who is unfolding it) are priceless, strong, worthy, able, intelligent, survivor, street smart, resourceful, and resilient. Some word choices are a little bit strange, but okay, they are generally positive messages.

Then I unfolded the other side that says “you may experience…”:

EXPLOITATION dancing ESCORT Boyfriend Modeling Sexual Violence LINGERIE THE TRACK Trading choice STRIPPING

WHAT? It appears that the handout is an outreach material for someone who is working in the sex industry, but what does “you may experience boyfriend” or “you may experience lingerie” mean? It makes no sense… and further, if they think that this list of words and phrases appeals to people who are working in the sex industry, for whatever reasons, they are clearly out of touch with the population they are trying to reach out to.

Anyone who actually does outreach or know a little bit about sex worker organizing recognize how ridiculous this handout is. They are putting these words and phrases together without having any awareness as to what specific culturally appropriate approaches they need to take for people working as escorts, or dancers, or lingerie models, or street prostitutes working the track. As a result, the handout appeals to none of the communities that it is intended to.

What is sad about this is that this handout is designed and distributed by an organization that serves victims of sexual assault and abuse, and it is one of the core members of the Portland metro-area CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children) protocol. This organization has also received a new funding from the City of Portland last year to double the number of victim advocates for youth who have been in the sex trade.

How can an organization that has a big program assisting youth who have worked in the sex industry be so clueless about how to outreach to them? I’m afraid that the answer is that the City is basing its funding priorities on ideology (i.e. opposition to prostitution and sex industry) rather than the actual needs of the population being served and the service provider’s competence to meet them.

1 Comment »

  1. […] I posted scanned images of the handout made by a service provider which works with trafficked youth (among others). I pointed out that the set of words and phrases […]

    Pingback by » Peer-run support service for sex workers loses funding while more and more anti-trafficking monies pour into incompetent “experts” — May 6, 2011 @ 4:43 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply